With devices like its recent P30 Pro flagship smartphone Huawei has managed to established itself as one of the prime manufacturers and a major innovator in the mobile imaging space within a very short period of time.
However, it looks like the company’s meteoric rise could be slowed significantly over the coming months. Over the weekend Reuters reported that the maker of the Android mobile operating system that runs on pretty much all Huawei mobile devices, will stop working with Huawei on future Android updates and device certifications. The move is a reaction to an executive order signed by US president Donald Trump and a resulting U.S. Commerce Department blacklist which prohibits US companies to do business with certain foreign entities, including Huawei.
Huawei is accused by the Trump accusation to work with the Chinese Government to install backdoors in its network equipment for spying purposes.
Companies on the blacklist are barred from purchasing equipment from U.S. companies without prior government approval. Previously Huawei devices had already been dropped by US network carriers under political pressure. Huawei is accused by the Trump accusation to work with the Chinese Government to install backdoors in its network equipment for spying purposes. However, no proof of such practices has been published so far.
The latest development is problematic for Huawei’s device division in so far that it relies on Google for access to closed portions of the Android OS and the Play Services suite. The latter has to be approved for each new Android device. According to the reports Play Services won’t be removed from existing devices but no new certifications will be issued.
That said, Huawei will be able to continue to use Android’s open-source components. The company uses Android’s open source libraries (AOSP) to build the core codebase for its EMUI mobile platform and release software updates in China, where Google Play services are not available.
Huawei has issued an official response to the developments, saying it will continue to provide security updates to all Huawei and Honor devices:
‘Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry.
Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.
We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.
Plus, nothing has changed for HONOR. We will be having our exciting launch event tomorrow in London for HONOR 20 Series.’
Google has also confirmed that Google Play services and Play Protect will continue to work on existing Huawei devices via a tweet:
For Huawei users’ questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.
— Android (@Android) May 20, 2019
Today a range of other US companies have joined Google in severing ties with Huawei. According to a report by Bloomberg Intel, Qualcomm, and Broadcom will stop supplying their chips and modems to Huawei. Nikkei reports the same for German chipmaker Infineon Technologies and US memory chip suppliers Micron Technology and Western Digital. There is no word from Microsoft yet but the software company is expected to cease supply of its Windows operating system for Huawei’s range of laptops.
Huawei is quite well protected against some of those impacts as the company is designing and manufacturing chipsets, modems and many other components in-house. It is also reported that the company has been stockpiling chips from US suppliers in anticipation of the current events. Supplies are said to last three months which hopefully should be enough time to solve the situation.